By Charles Etukuri
The Police on Monday, July 18, said they were investigating a prominent Kisoro-based businessman over aggravated defilement.
The probe comes in the wake of allegations that the businessman impregnated a 17-year-old Senior Three student who had come to him looking for a job.
He allegedly whisked her away from Kisoro after a failed abortion and got her a job in Kampala.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga identified the tycoon as Ramathan Ndikuyezi.
“The Directorate of Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) is actively investigating an alleged case of aggravated defilement and procurement of abortion, against a 17-year-old female S3 student, in one of the schools in Kisoro district, by Ndikuyezi, a prominent estate and fuel dealer in Kisoro district,” Enanga said.
Enanga explained that the facts gathered indicate that during the COVID-19 lockdown, the victim approached the suspect for a job at his petrol station.
“The suspect instead promised her a job in his estate business. It is during one of the inspections of his estate business, that they got involved and started a love affair till April 2022, when the victim realised she was pregnant and tried to abort secretly, with the help of a medical person in Kisoro,” Enanga added.
He said due to much fear for her parents, the victim left for Kampala and got a job as a maid in Bukasa.
She, however, developed complications and was rushed to Quantum Medical Facility, where it was established that the foetus was still stuck in her womb.
The victim was transferred to Nsambya Hospital for better treatment.
“The matter has since gained attention in Kisoro and Kigezi region. Although the victim claims she is 19, her parents claim she is 17 years. We are treating the matter as a priority and will ensure the rights of the victim are protected. What she has endured is painful and our team of counsellors are handling her with sensitivity and respect.
“We want to thank the parents for the courage they took to report the matter to Police. The fact that the suspect is a prominent businessman who wields power and influence in Kisoro, it will lead other victimised parents to stand up to abusers, who victimise their children,” Enanga stated.
The Police lauded the officers from the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Department, CID Kampala Metropolitan Police and Kisoro Territorial Police for taking aggressive action to thoroughly investigate the disturbing allegations.
“They are pursuing all venues, including DNA and other scientific tests against the samples taken from the suspect and the victim,” Enanga said.
He urged the public in Kigezi region, not to rush to make judgement now and wait for the Directorate of Public Prosecution to give her legal opinion.
“Obviously, if the charges are sanctioned, expect us to charge the suspect to court immediately for human trafficking, aggravated defilement and procuring an abortion,” he assured.
The crime of defilement was created in 1990 and prohibits having or attempting sexual intercourse with a girl under 18 years of age and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
According to Justice Centres Uganda, a government project of the Justice, Law and Order Sector, “a child under the law is a person that is below 18 years of age. Offenders that can be arrested and charged: adult (18 years and above).”
It is assumed by law that a child of 12 years and below cannot be capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong and should, therefore, not be held criminally responsible.
It also notes that consent to the sexual act and/or someone not getting pregnant are not defences.
In cases of defilement, issues of consent and pregnancy are irrelevant. This means that whether one has agreed to it or has not ended up pregnant is not a defence. The sexual act itself is seen as a crime by law.
Justice Center says already the attempt to commit defilement is an offence and, therefore, punishable. So where one tries to perform a sexual act with a child (below 18 years) and does not succeed, the matter can still be reported to Police and the culprit arrested and convicted if found guilty.
In Uganda, defilement can be classified by the law into two different categories. This is based on the specific age of the child and special circumstances surrounding the persons involved in the sexual act.
These forms of defilement are; simple defilement which occurs when the sexual intercourse between an adult and a child above 14 years which is an offence whereof the adult is liable on conviction, to imprisonment for 18 years; aggravated defilement which occurs if the adult performs sexual intercourse with a very young child (between days old to 14 years) or these other special circumstances are prevalent.
These special circumstances include; where the offender (adult) is HIV-positive or AIDS; where the offender is a blood relative to the victim and/or is in authority over the child, for instance, a parent, an uncle, aunt; where the offender is a person with authority over the victim like a teacher; where the victim (child) is a person with a disability, for instance, physical disability, deaf, speech impairment/ disability, and mental health conditions, among others.
Aggravated defilement also occurs; where the offender is a serial offender i.e has committed the offence more than once; and where these circumstances are taken to be severe and, therefore, carry a more serious punishment, which is a maximum sentence of death.